British-led consortium to manage two Omani airports
The government of Oman recently signed an agreement with an international consortium led by the British Airport Authority (BAA) to develop and manage two airports, the Seeb International Airport in Muscat and the Salalah International Airport in Dhufar, reported the official ONA news agency.
The consortium, also including ABB Equity Ventures and the Omani Suhail Bahwan Trading Company (BTC), will be charged with the management of the airports for 25 years beginning on January 1, 2002. Omani Transport and Telecommunications Minister Malik Al-Muammari told ONA that under the deal the new firm would pay the government a percentage of revenues for the duration of the concession.
The first Gulf country to privatize its airports, the Sultanate invited bids in December 2000, after a feasibility study on the airports’ privatization was completed in June. Twelve foreign firms were subsequently short listed for the management and operation of the two airports, down from the 68 initial bidders, Economy Minister Ahmad Bin Abdulnabi Makki disclosed.
The government required the bidding companies to commit to investing at least $100 million over the next 10 years, and construct a new terminal at Seeb. According to the recently signed contract, the new company would invest $190.2 millon in developing the airports' facilities.
The government intends to initially retain a 20 percent stake in the new firm to which would be handed over the airport management. Another five percent would be held by the Oman Aviation Services Company, while the private consortium would hold the remaining 75 percent stake. Shareholder structure of the new company will be BAA with 25 percent, Bahwan Group with a 35 percent stake and ABB with 15 percent.
The two airports, mostly used for domestic flights, reportedly earned over $20 million in 2000, mainly from aeronautical fees. Britain's largest airports operator, BAA, manages seven airports in Britain and 12 worldwide. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)